- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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After replacing Dick Williams as the manager of the Expos (3-3), Jim Fanning told his team there was "a pot of gold out there for the winning." Jeff Reardon went after the pot like a 49er, hurling five innings of hitless relief as he earned two saves.
Neil Allen's 16th save came as the Mets (2-5) held off the Pirates 3-1. And Ray Sear-age's first save came when he retired the last five Bucs in order to lock up a 5-3 triumph for Terry Leach, who had pitched 3? innings of runless relief.
Philadelphia (3-3), the only Part I winner currently out of contention, finally got some solid hitting. Garry Maddox drove in nine runs, five as the Expos were shelled 10-5. Philly then battled from behind three times and defeated Montreal 11-8 on a three-run homer in the eighth by Gary Matthews.
Jason Thompson of the Pirates (4-3) batted .171 before the strike but has hit .306 in Part II. Thompson hit a two-run pinch single in the eighth on Sunday to defeat Philadelphia 3-2 and top off a spree in which he reached base 22 times in 26 at bats.
St.L 18-12 MONT 16-15 CHI 16-17 NY 15-18 PHIL 13-19 PITT 14-21
"You have to love September," said Don Sutton of the division-leading Astros (4-2). Downplaying the pressure of the Part II pennant race. Sutton added, "I'm really having fun." Sutton's fun came at the expense of the Giants, whom he blanked 5-0. For going into the stands in Atlanta to confront fans who had viciously heckled him for two days, Cesar Cedeno was fined $5,000 by the league.
Game-winning RBIs, which were added to game statistics last season, don't always reflect clutch-hitting ability. Batters can, for example, earn a gamer by driving in a run with an early-inning groundout in what winds up a 1-0 contest, or by punching across the first run in a 14-0 rout. Chris Chambliss of the Braves (4-2), though, had two hits that were true gamers—a two-run double in the ninth that overcame Houston 3-2, and a homer in the 11th that beat San Diego 5-4.
Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes. Bill Russell and Ron Cey have been the regular infielders for Los Angeles (3-3) since June 1973; theirs is believed to be the longest unbroken tenure ever for an infield. But age, injuries and other woes may be breaking up that old Dodger gang. Garvey, 32, is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the 1982 season, and the Dodgers may well decide not to pay him the megabucks he'll want because by then Mike Marshall—he led the league with 34 homers, 137 RBIs and a .373 average at Albuquerque this season—should be ready. Lopes, 35, is hitting only .202. Russell, 32, recently learned he has played for at least three years with a stress fracture of his right foot that will require surgery. And Cey, 33, may miss the rest of the season because of a cracked bone in his left forearm. Before Tom Lasorda can say tortellini � la panna, the L.A. infield may have Marshall at first, Jack Perconte at second, Steve Sax at short and Pedro Guerrero at third. And there are rumors that Cardinal Shortstop Garry Templeton may become a Dodger, too.
Johnny Bench of the Reds (4-2) continued to prove his durability. Bench, who suffered a broken ankle in May, homered twice to defeat the Padres 8-7 and the next day beat them 5-4 by swatting another round-tripper and then singling in the clinching run in the ninth. Ron Oester also came through when it counted, homering in the 10th to defeat L.A. 3-2.